Ugh— I'm so sorry, everyone. I promised to update, then took about a month and a half to do so. And on top of that, in my honest opinion, this is shitty. I'm sorry.

I'll have to see what kind of feedback this lame second chapter gets — if any — to judge how long I'll drag it out. We'll see.

Also, please note that the first half of this was actually written before we found out Rin and Nitori were roommates. Thanks.


Warnings: Bad language is heavy, especially towards the end. Rin-centric. Also, Rin is very mood-swingy. Also, some spoilers that I'm sure most know about.

Disclaimer: I don't own Free! Iwatobi Swim Club. But it owns my heart.


"Shit, shit, shit, shit..."

Soft, hushed cursing could be heard as seventeen-year-old Matsuoka Rin pushed opened the door to his dorm, entering the dark room. The reddish-purple haired teenager kicked the door shut behind him again with minimial power before crossing the room, moving towards his bed. Once there, he took a moment to pause, looking between the top and bottom bunks that were his options.

Damn, I'll have to lay him in mine. He'd be too hard to manage in the top bunk, Rin thought to himself, hissing in dissatisfaction before he carefully crouched down. The movement shifted Haru to be cradled against his chest, his face buried in the side of the taller teen's neck, and Rin found himself making a face. Haruka's face was seriously freaking sweaty. And hot. It was gross.

Fuck, why me? Rin cursed his luck as he pulled back the covers on the bottom bunk. The swimmer shimmied closer to the bed on the soles of his feet, carefully lifting Haruka up a bit. He placed Haru on his back on the bed, removing the big wad of clothes he'd laid on the boy's upper half previously and chucking it off to the side somewhere, not caring where it landed. Rin pulled his blankets back overtop of Haru, covering the boy up to his shoulders, before he stood, red eyes glaring down at the ill athlete.

"I can't believe you were sick," Rin murmured quietly in the darkness, snarling as he whipped around on his heels, stalking off towards his bathroom. He flicked on the bathroom light, illuminating the pure white room, and crossed over the threshold, moving inside. The male strode over to the bathroom counter, crouching down and opening the cabinent underneath it. He could feel sheer anger and rage pulsing through his body as he fished around through the cabinent, looking for something he could use to catch any more vomit Haru happened to yuck up. It was hard, though, with the red stars flying across his vision. He couldn't believe this.

"That's the third time you've cheated me, you bastard," Rin hissed as he yanked a small white tub out from under the bathroom sink, one he had never messed with before. It was just randomly placed inside the cabinent, by the looks of it. Regardless, it would do.

Standing back to his full height, Rin sat the white tub on the edge of the bathroom sink before going into the mirrored medicine cabinent located directly above said sink. He reached out, plucking a light blue rag out of the cabinent from a stack of many, and turned on the faucet, leaving the temperature dial right where it was, directly between hot and cold. He ran the rag under the faucet a few times before wringing it out and turning the water off. Shutting the medicine cabinent back, the Matsuoka male took a moment to stare at his reflection. Had his face always been so pale?

It's his fault, The teenager thought to himself, scowling into the mirror before slinging the rag he'd just prepared into the white tub, picking said object up and exiting back out of the room. He left the light on.

Face scrunched up and contemplating whether Haru had been trying to make a fool out of him or had just been pitying him, Rin crouched down at the unconscious swimmer's bedside. He then lowered himself further, moving to sit on the floor, and crossed his legs Indian-style. The vengeful teen sat the white tub he'd brought with him beside him on the floor, reaching out and taking the wet rag he'd slung into it into his hands. He turned to Haru, lifting the rag.

Rin flinched. A distant but horribly clear memory flashed across his vision; a riverbank, Makoto's tears— Haru's lifeless form, save for his red cheeks and heavy breathing. Rin could remember peering past Makoto, trying to breathe deeply as said olive-haired preteen panicked, fearing for his best friend's life. He could remember the tight fist that clutched at his stomach and then aimed higher, tearing at his heart as he watched Haru's chest rise and fall. He'd had to make sure Haru's chest kept moving. Rising and falling; falling and rising.

Much like he was right then, in the present.

"Shit," Rin murmured quietly. Relax, Rin— he's not gonna die, He told himself, leaning forward and carefully laying the wet rag across the passed out teenager's forehead. Pulling his arms back, Rin rested his hands in his lap and heaved a heavy sigh. He wasn't going to then, either. We had everything under control, The teen told himself, pushing back the memory of how fearful he and Makoto had been, rejecting the feelings. He refused to admit to the true fear he'd felt that day — in those scary, agonizing moments — but that didn't stop his mind from wandering, his fears from his childhood seeping through the cracks in the wall he had tried to put up.

What if he had died, though? Where would I be then? Rin wondered, frowning as he looked Haruka over once more, feeling a strange twisting in his gut at having to see the boy who had kept him so captivated during their childhood in such a state— weak and entirely dependent upon him and his decisions. It didn't feel right to see Haruka like this; he felt antsy and concerned, even though he didn't want to. He couldn't help it. "Tch," Rin inwardly scolded himself. Shouldn't...

But I do. I don't remember ever seeing Haru like this, except that one stupid day. Rin grunted, shutting his eyes as he scolded himself once more. He didn't need to think about back then— he was supposed to be pissed off at Haru! I am... but he's been my goal all along. How can I afford not to care? Rin opened his eyes, his red hues wandering back over to Haruka. The teenage boy's face softened as he let his thoughts wander.

He was the one that distracted me from Dad's dream... I saw Haru swim for the time ever and had to swim with him— wanted to know what it was like and work to get myself up to his standards. And then I went off to Australia to become a stronger swimmer so I could become an Olympic swimmer one day— like Dad wanted to be. I wanted to come back and race Haru— to impress him by beating him in a race. But when I came back after the first year, I... Rin's thoughts trailed off and his face twisted into a look of pain.

Not only did I lose, but I let him see me cry and I started focusing all my attention on Haru. Practicing to become better than Haru, working out every day to keep my body up to par with Haru's. I forgot about Dad's dream for those few years, mostly, and I really shouldn't have. Haru distracted me. Rin forced his eyes open once more, looking at the old friend he'd made into a rival for himself.

He became my goal. And I'm still not sure if I've caught up to him. I've been trying to reach him all these years, to get on his level— but in our first race he practically threw in the towel by letting me win and in tonight's he was sick. How am I supposed to know if I've caught up with him or not yet? How am I supposed to know that I've reached him?

Without his consent, Rin's hand slowly creeped closer, his arm extending, stretching out to reach for Haru. And then the pads of his fingers were pressing against the sweaty, hot skin of Haruka's forearm and Rin blinked.

Shit, he's burning, Rin noted, frowning as he allowed the palm of his hand to press into Haru's skin, feeling the warmth radiating off his rival. Rin looked over at the rag situated on Haruka's head, wondering just how much good it was doing, before he scowled. The cerise-haired teenager stood, taking the rag from Haru's head and deciding he'd re-wet it as he whirled around. Rin moved for the thermostat on the opposite side of the room, his fingers having just ghosted over the dial, turning it slightly to the left, when there was a grunt that was not one of his— for once.

Rin turned around and his hand clenched, curling into a fist as he fought off the urge to immediately tell Haruka to "lay the fuck back down." The boy was sitting up — or trying to, at least — and it was with a dazed look that Haru peered around the room, his hand coming up to his face and bracing itself against his head. What had happened?

I remember swimming against Rin, Haru thought as his memories slowly came flowing back to him, taking their time in doing so. Did he win? He wondered, not knowing just how fast he could expect his answer.

"Wanted to make a fool of me again, didn'tcha? What— thought letting me win the first time wasn't enough?" Rin snarled from across the room, catching Haru's attention. The recently-awakened swimmer looked over at the angry teen, eyebrows slightly raised. Did I let him win again? He wondered. No, I'm sick. He's angry that I swam against him in such poor condition, Haru frowned, fighting off a wave of dizziness as he focused on Rin, who chucked the rag he'd been holding back across the small room at Haruka, letting it hit the boy in the shoulder. Haru stayed still, not sure what that was meant to do.

"Well?!" Rin snapped, teeth clenched. Haru looked on, eyeing the teenager, who practically growled, throwing his hands up. "I give up! You don't even fucking care that you make me feel like a laughingstock, do you?!"

Rin clutched his hands into tight fists, storming over to the open and waiting bathroom door. He'd had enough of this— and Haru hadn't even been up two minutes. He won't answer me, he just gives me that look. That stupid fucking look. I give up. I don't care. He can just get the hell out. I don't—

"Wait," A small voice stopped Rin just as he reached the bathroom and the cerise-haired teen scowled, turning back towards Haru. "No, I'm not gonna wait! I'm gonna do what the fuck I want and get away from you! Shit— why the fuck did I even bring you here? I should've thrown you in the pool! See if you're such a great fucking swimmer then!" Rin seethed and Haruka visably flinched. Rin sucked in a breath, trying to get some air back in his legs, and then pushed it back out forcefully, causing a slight pain in his chest. "Get your shit and get out. I don't want you here." Rin began to turn away.

"Wait, don't run off," Haruka called after Rin as the boy turned around, receiving a grunt and an angry, "What the fuck did I just say? Take your shit. And get out. And I'm not fucking running off."

"But you are," Haru mumbled, casting his blue gaze down and slowly taking the rag Rin had thrown at him in hand, holding it between his palms and running his fingers over the wet cloth. Rin scowled.

"So what if I fucking am? I'm grown, Haru— I can do whatever the fuck I want. What does it matter to you, anyway?" Rin questioned. Haru took in a small breath, shutting his eyes as his fingers clenched slightly.

"Because if you run off and leave me now... I still don't think I'll have the courage to follow."

A short silence fell between the two boys, Haruka sitting in his spot on Rin's bed and trying to stop his stomach from doing flips. Rin's face briefly went slack.

Rin raised his eyebrows, his left hand resting on the doorframe he stood under. Still won't... have the courage to follow... His mind echoed the words, repeating them in his own voice. Rin slowly turned back towards Haru.

"I— What?" Rin murmured, not sure if he should continue into the bathroom and leave Haru to "get his shit and get out" as he'd so nicely been putting it or hear his rival out. Haruka sighed, contemplating everything.

If I didn't have the strength or courage to follow after you then and I still don't have enough of either to follow you now, Rin— when will I?

When will I be able to catch back up to you and reach you— patch things up between us? What's stopping me now?


I'd usually put a legit little note down here talking about the chapter, but I'm so ashamed of this that it's not even funny. I'm sorry, guys.

Thanks to those who read and please— if this really disappointed you, go read Chapter 14 of TKS once it's up. I'm pretty sure it'll be a little better. I'm out.